2/15/2014 5:18 P.M. ET
Prospect Schoop spent offseason getting stronger
By Adam Berry / MLB.com
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles infielder Jonathan Schoop put his newfound power on full display Friday, blasting a homer over one of the back field's fences and right into a nearby car in the parking lot.
Schoop only heard the sound of the ball making contact with the vehicle and joked that, fortunately, he never heard from the car's owner.
"I don't have the money for that," he said, smiling.
Schoop set out this offseason to add strength, particularly in his legs, and succeeded in gaining eight to 10 pounds of muscle. The 22-year-old prospect worked out over the winter with another Curacao native, Rangers infielder Jurickson Profar.
"If you want to play the whole season strong, [getting stronger] is part of the game," Schoop said. "You've got to get stronger for you to last through it. ... I feel like I'm done growing, but I can get stronger, stronger for myself to get better. The stronger you are, the better baseball player you are."
Schoop, ranked by MLB.com as Baltimore's No. 5 Prospect, said he hasn't been told if he'll start the season with the Orioles or Triple-A Norfolk, nor has he heard what positions he'll be playing this spring. With Manny Machado at third base and J.J. Hardy at shortstop, it would appear Schoop's most likely home in the short term is at second base.
"I just come to camp to ... work hard. Whatever happens, I just want to play baseball," Schoop said. "If I start at Norfolk, I'll work hard to get in the big leagues. And if I start in the big leagues, I'll do my best to stay there."
The Orioles called up Schoop in September, and he went 4-for-14 with a home run in five games. Schoop began the year in the World Baseball Classic and finished it in the Arizona Fall League, but he battled injuries during the regular season. Still, Schoop said he thinks he can build on his brief stint in the Majors.
"It helped me a lot because you gain experience, you play with the best guys in the world," Schoop said. "It helped me a lot to play in a game, play against Boston, play against Toronto, all those great teams. It helped me for this year."
O's claim utility man Paredes off waivers
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles claimed utility man Jimmy Paredes off waivers from the Marlins on Saturday.
The Marlins claimed Paredes off waivers in November and designated him for assignment on Feb. 7.
Paredes, 25, should compete for a spot on the Orioles' bench this spring. The switch-hitter has played parts of three Major League seasons with the Astros, posting a combined .234/.274/.311 batting line with three home runs, 31 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 118 games.
Paredes has primarily played right field in the Majors but has also seen time at second and third base. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder also played shortstop, center field and left field in the Minors.
Signed by the Yankees in 2006, Paredes was traded to Houston along with reliever Mark Melancon in exchange for Lance Berkman before the 2010 non-waiver Trade Deadline. Over parts of seven seasons in the Minors, Paredes hit .289/.324/.428 with 44 homers and 276 RBIs in 601 games.
Baltimore's 40-man roster is now full.
De La Cruz slowed by pulled left hamstring
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Orioles left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz has been held back at the start of camp by a pulled left hamstring he suffered about a month ago, but he hopes to throw a bullpen session off the mound in a few days.
De La Cruz, who was scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday, instead threw off a flat mound under the supervision of pitching coach Dave Wallace and head athletic trainer Richie Bancells.
"Everything is fine. I just have, like, a little hamstring pull a month ago," De La Cruz said, adding that he hasn't had any prior issues with his hamstring. "We were working last week over here to get better with the hamstring. Now, it's pretty good. That thing is step by step."
The Orioles signed De La Cruz to a one-year deal in November. The 25-year-old lefty posted a 2.67 ERA in 50 appearances between Double-A and Triple-A last year while pitching in the Dodgers' system and held lefties to a .217/.298/.261 batting line with 37 strikeouts in 106 plate appearances. The southpaw has been working on throwing from two different arm slots for the past year, which he said helped him in 2013, especially against left-handed hitters.
In other injury news, manager Buck Showalter said right-hander Miguel Gonzalez left about halfway through Saturday's workout with back spasms. Showalter described it as more of a precautionary measure and said the Orioles were "not alarmed at this point" by it. Gonzalez wasn't scheduled to throw Saturday.
• Tim Alderson had to wait a little longer than expected for his first Major League Spring Training. The 25- year-old right-hander was scheduled to fly out of Arizona and arrive Thursday night in Sarasota, via Charlotte. The middle leg of his trip, as it turned out, made that impossible.
"The snow kind of took care of that. I couldn't get out of Arizona," Alderson said Saturday morning upon reporting to Orioles camp -- after being re-routed through Texas on Friday. "It was quite the journey."
• Pitcher Alfredo Aceves and catcher Johnny Monell, meanwhile, still have not reported to camp due to weather- related travel delays. Showalter said he expects both players in camp Sunday and relayed that both "expressed how unhappy they are with the travel."
• Showalter noted that the battle for the backup catcher job will be decided solely based on who performs better defensively. The Orioles could look elsewhere for a second catcher if none of the candidates in camp fit well enough in that regard.
• Among the pitchers who did throw bullpen sessions Saturday were Tommy Hunter, Bud Norris, Darren O'Day, Evan Meek, Troy Patton, Ryan Webb, Brad Bach, Wei-Yin Chen, Alderson, Brock Huntzinger and T.J. McFarland. Showalter seemed particularly impressed with Huntzinger, who pitched this offseason in the Dominican Winter League for Aguilas Cibaenas.